By: Karen Graham
The focus of scientists, food companies and consumer groups is now on Monsanto's Roundup, and its active ingredient, glyphosate. Even though testing has increased in the past two years, they have spiked since the WHO report in March.
On March 20, 2015 Monsanto was stunned when the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report that suggested glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company's signature herbicide, Roundup was “probably carcinogenic."
At the time of the release of this new information, it was unknown as to whether the average consumer would even take notice of the warning. Monsanto, just to be sure, publicly denied there was any danger involved in using Roundup and demanded that the WHO retract its report, claiming the research was biased.
In the wake of the WHO report, consumers have taken notice, and so too have scientists and food companies. There has been a marked increase in the number of tests being requested on everything from baby foods to breakfast cereals. Ben Winkler, the laboratory manager at Microbe Inotech Laboratories in St. Louis says, "The requests keep coming in."
Winkler says that over the past three or four years, the laboratory might get three or four requests to test for glyphosate's annually, but since the WHO report, the requests have increased to three or four every week, according to Reuters. "Some people want to stay out in front of this. Nobody knows what it means yet, but a lot of people are testing," said Winkler.
Abraxis LLC, a Warminster, Pennsylvania-based diagnostics company has also seen a marked increase in glyphosate testing, said Abraxis partner Dave Deardorff. Tests done by Abraxis found measurable levels of glyphosate residues in 41 of 69 honey samples and 10 of 28 soy sauce samples.
Microbe Inotech tests have detected glyphosate residue levels in three of 18 breast milk samples and six out of 40 baby food samples. Additionally, North Dakota State University agronomist Joel Ransom reported glyphosate residue in several U.S. and Canadian flour samples. The results were sent to the U.S. Wheat Quality Council in February.
Monsanto Co. on April 1 posted a statement on its blog site, reassuring users of the safety of Roundup:
"According to physicians and other food safety experts, the mere presence of a chemical itself is not a human health hazard. It is the amount, or dose, that matters," Monsanto senior toxicologist Kimberly Hodge-Bell said in the blog. "Trace amounts are not unsafe," she added.
Originally Published: Digital Journal